Dr Krishnan wrote this. He's my nephrologist and a wonderful doctor and human. We met in very interesting circumstances in 2009.
This is a heartfelt piece he wrote about the medical fraternity and how they are battling the pandemic.
COVID-19 has changed the outlook for many people, and what they used to take for granted may now retain a greater measure of importance.
COVID hospitals and ICUs have been the battlefield for many. Doctors and the paramedical staff being the true ‘warriors’.
The high levels of emotional distress among hospital workers — stemming from social isolation, the pain of losing colleagues to the disease, and social stigma, apart from the stressful duties., cannot be described in words.
Doctors and our dialysis staff face the emotional turmoil of being forced to choose between protecting themselves and their loved ones and doing their duty as caregivers during a national crisis.
The clinical workforce has already been experiencing a crisis of burnout. We are now facing a surge of physical and emotional harm that amounts to a parallel pandemic. Burnout is associated with higher rates of anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse, and suicides — trends that will be aggravated by the pandemic.
Most health care workers like our dialysis staff did not sign up for disaster medicine. When entering the profession, most did not envision their days were going to be filled with fear, questioning their own mortality. Most did not envision days with bruises on their face from prolonged mask use. Many from our own fraternity have contracted the illness, leaving many with the anxious question, “Am I next?”
Yes, most of us still enjoy the work. Many doctors voluntarily work longer hours and take on extra tasks out of a sense of professional obligation How should health systems respond to such a formidable challenge?
Think about the various medical problems we have been treating – pre COVID. Now, most general hospitals and clinics are running with minimal staff, and very little patient turnover(non-covid) Patients have realized that many simple problems can be tackled at their end without hospital visits .
We realize that the necessities for’ life’ is very minimal but for maintaining a ‘lifestyle’ the effort is enormous. This brings in a lot of stress, anxiety, hardships and envy. Life can be simplified easily.
With the digital movement gaining momentum, there is a paradigm shift in every walk of life. There will be radical changes in how we work, commute, socialize and communicate.
Techies work from home, children attend virtual classes, exams are on-line, e-commerce and internet banking is the way of life. so is telemedicine. Many doctors adapt to this modality for follow up of patients i.e. minimal interaction, brief communication and e-prescriptions - and convenience for both. It is safe in many cases (not all) and cost-effective. Health records are better maintained.
However busy a professional, or a health care worker you may be, please take out some time for yourself. Listen to music, play games, spend time with your spouse and children- indoor games, singing, small outings just to mention a few. -3-
Remember ‘yeh zindagi na mile dubara’.
While it is hoped that the standards of personal hygiene, social distancing, mask, cough etiquette etc would be maintained I feel, the urge to travel abroad, hold large gatherings, crowding for fun- would also come down. It is going to be a new normal. Mother nature can breathe better. A new world order, in short.
Many of our friends would have closed their clinics during the lockdown or reduced the timings and numbers This can earn a lot of peace, happiness and good health – which money cant. Just to borrow the words from one of our colleagues (name not known) which has been circulating in the social media –
“It is not T20 nor an ODI. We are engaged in a test match on a bouncy pitch. Watch every delivery and survive for the next. Run does not matter. A single here or there would do. Survive and occupy the crease as long as possible. Umpires are not going to be considerate.”
Reminds of an old song – Zindagi ek safar hai suhana, yehan kal kyo ho - kisne jaana !!
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us closer than ever before. Everyone is united in efforts to contain the virus. We have realized that if we don’t prepare ourselves well, then we can lose what we have now.
This thought that we may lose a good future if we are not careful, has made us more appreciative of the present and thankful for what we have.
Let us learn and practice the art of living. This pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to reinvent and redesign our life. Let us do it.